costumeczar Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 12:42pm
post #1 of

"Entitled" might not be the right word...I'm just curious, because I've started getting inquiries from people where they're sending a blanket email to a bunch of people saying things like "I'm looking for an amazing cake for blah blah blah...If you're up to the challenge let me know!"

Either that, or the tone of the email is kind of weird, like they're giving you the opportuity to do their cake and you should be so grateful...It's hard to describe the tone but I'm seeing more of it.

Just wondering if anyone else is seeing stuff like this, is it a trend now or what?

One thing that I've realized in getting this kind of stuff is that I also interview my brides, not only the other way around, haha! If the tone of the email is too snotty and it's also been sent to ninety other people, I delete it.

123 replies
kc03 Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 12:56pm
post #2 of

Welcome to the world we live in. There is a serious entitlement problem. The good news is we have the right to refuse service.

indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:19pm
post #3 of

Ahhhhhhh! Another product of the wedding magazines advice to help brides get a good deal! I've seen this written about a number of times. Pretty much, the bride is putting the cake out for bid. Mass emails a number of vendors so the vendors know they are competing for the business. The logic is that the vendor will think, "Uh-oh! I have to offer the best rock-bottom price in the world or someone else might get this business!" icon_surprised.gif (wring hands, worry about lost business, panic and offer a stupidly low price!) The sad part is that the magazines really think we all do business that way.

Agree on the "interviewing the bride", too! I rejected an email from a bride who wanted a cake and a buffet that included a "kick ass apple pie!" Kick ass? icon_confused.gif How do we define "kick ass"? I am outta there on that one.

costumeczar Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:25pm
post #4 of

It's not just mass emails, though. I get people emailing me directly from my website saying things like that.

Some girl emailed me saying that her boyfriend wanted a very specific groom's cake with a specific theme, and she did use the phrase "if you're up to the challenge." So when I emailed her back to get details it was bounced back to me because the email address she wrote on the form was wrong. I figured she wasn't up to the challenge of sending me the correct contact info, so I wasn't too concerned about it, heh heh heh.

I just think it's sign that clients think they have the upper hand "in this economy," or that there are people around who are underpricing so much they think they can bargain with me. Uh, no. I'm too old to mess with that, thanks.

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:42pm
post #5 of

My issue is when they ask up front about general pricing or such and you give them the answer they go skitzoid on you! icon_confused.gif Well dearie, why the h*ll did you ask in the first place??? icon_mad.giftapedshut.gif

indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:43pm
post #6 of

Oh yeah, the "up to the challenge" thing! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif It seems to me that I recall getting an email wanting to know if I was up to the challenge of making a 3 tier cake with a ribbon around the base. Must be the new buzzword!!!

Challenge? In my sleep with my eyes closed! (oh wait ... most people DO sleep with their eyes closed, dont' they!?) icon_lol.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:46pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Oh yeah, the "up to the challenge" thing! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif It seems to me that I recall getting an email wanting to know if I was up to the challenge of making a 3 tier cake with a ribbon around the base. Must be the new buzzword!!!

Challenge? In my sleep with my eyes closed! (oh wait ... most people DO sleep with their eyes closed, dont' they!?) icon_lol.gif




"Dear Mass Marketing Bride,

Thank you for your recent inquiry, but if you are looking for a cake decorator who finds three tiered cakes challenging, we are definitely not for you! Tiered cakes are NOT challenging to those who know what they are doing. Good luck to you!" icon_twisted.gif

JulieMN Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 11:53pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns



"Dear Mass Marketing Bride,

Thank you for your recent inquiry, but if you are looking for a cake decorator who finds three tiered cakes challenging, we are definitely not for you! Tiered cakes are NOT challenging to those who know what they are doing. Good luck to you!" icon_twisted.gif




Love this!

Sorelle Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 12:13am
post #9 of

Yep, I think we'll see more of this because of the economy.

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 12:14am

I had someone contact me about a wedding. She then proceeds to mention that she's contacted another baker and tells me the price she was quoted.....sort of a "can you do better?". The price she was (supposedly) quoted was RIDICULOUS! I gave her a price that I believe was VERY generous, considering the amount of work she was asking for(it was higher than her 'original' quote). Never heard from her again.

johnson6ofus Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 12:14am

Bet cake wrecks can suggest a baker. icon_mad.gif

bakencake Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 12:16am
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I figured she wasn't up to the challenge of sending me the correct contact info, so I wasn't too concerned about it, heh heh heh.
.



LMAO!!!!

Corrie76 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 12:17am

I'm getting a lot of girls in the twenty something crowd who have serious communication problems. First off they send e-mails and texts saying they want XYZ and to call them at 555-5555.....It's almost backwards really. I don't send Pizza Hut and e-mail saying ,"I'd really like an amazing and perfect pepperoni pizza, if your up for the challenge(lol) then give me a call" icon_rolleyes.gif
I'm not even that old, but I grew up with the notion that as the customer, if you want something you go to the place or you call the vendor....never this weird mind game crap of trying to make orders a competition or a weird self-esteem boost that the vendor is calling them out of desparation to serve them.
It's all part of the whole "entitlement generation" thing that is rearing it's ugly head now that all these kids are entering adulthood. These particular customers have been raised never hearing the word "no", being coddled and put up on a pedestal by parents, never getting the chance to fail at anything or earn anything legitimately...The end result is this new breed of entitled customer, I mean, mom and dad, teachers and coaches have always groveled at their feet,gave them what they wanted and made special exceptions for them (ya know, 'cause they are unique and special and really it's a treat to be given opportunity to serve them) why wouldn't a cake decorator, or anyone else for that matter? icon_rolleyes.gif
Sorry for the ranting, lol, but before I finish up here I just want to add that i'm sure there are a gazillion exceptions to this horrible stereo-type I just described and I know that not all twenty-somethings behave so badly, but enough of them do that it just grates on my last nerve!!

Lcubed82 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 12:41am

"My issue is when they ask up front about general pricing or such and you give them the answer they go skitzoid on you!"
Number One rule of selling- never answer a direct question with a direct answer! In this business that definitely applies, because we don't offer "standard" products.

I think the TV challenges, where it seems the tops of our business are competing to be chosen by the customer, may play a part also! Do all this work, and then they will see if they think you are worth anything!

costumeczar Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 1:49am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrie76

...or a weird self-esteem boost that the vendor is calling them out of desparation to serve them.




That's EXACTLY what I'm trying to describe, you put it into words. They seem to be setting me up to beg for their business and serve them.

They apparently don't know that I'm old enough to have an extremely well-developed and overactive BS detector, and it goes off when I read that kind of stuff.

jenmat Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 1:50am

I've actually been getting a lot less of this lately, which is weird. I raised my prices and the entitlement crowd seems to have gone elsewhere.

Well, not EVERYone in the entitlement crowd- I do have a silly bride who wants a 35 serving cake in June, and waited until march 1 to ask if I would still honor the special I offered through Jan 31st. Then, even though I told her no, she booked me, and told me on March 13th that she "HAD" to have a tasting/consult appt by Mar 25 and I needed to let her know when I could make space for her right away. Ummmm... my calendar, which is online and accessible, is booked until April 25th. Deal, dearie.

I sincerely believe that we DO have to understand that we CAN turn down business. I interview them when I'm doing a consult or even over email. If they give me the run around, I cut them loose. For me, after a bad experience last year which resulted in a BAD review that is now up for the whole world to see, I realized that I have to protect my business and my livelihood from those who think they can take advantage or who live by the idea that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
And I HATE those silly bridal magazine articles. We should burn them all...

Motta Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 2:10am

just wondering how you interview the bride eg. what questions do you ask and what are the bad answers?? I'd love to know so that I can also avoid that type of customer.

Jenniferkay Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 2:15am

I just had a bride book with me who's email title was "You Won!" Won what exactly, didn't know I was in a contest...guess it's good I won.

Kitagrl Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 2:37am

Oh my word YES! I just had a nasty email from one of these today!!! Angry at me because SHE was paying "top dollar" for a cake (for 60 servings) and I would not give her an "assortment of baked items" to try so she could "make her choices". She decided I had terrible customer service and she was taking her business elsewhere.

She wanted to know how she was supposed to order such an expensive cake from me if she's never tasted my work. (I did offer her a paid tasting option but that was, evidently, offensive.)

Good riddance.

cakegirl1973 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 2:54am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

just wondering how you interview the bride eg. what questions do you ask and what are the bad answers?? I'd love to know so that I can also avoid that type of customer.




I don't think there are set questions to ask. It's more of an observation of the person's attitude, like some of the comments that others have shared in this post. Also, for me, I also pay attention to whether the person seems to be listening to what I am telling or explaining to them. If they are argumentative, demanding, or don't seem to be listening to me, I'm inclined to pass up the order. It hasn't happened very often to me, but it has happened.

indydebi Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 3:53am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl1973

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

just wondering how you interview the bride eg. what questions do you ask and what are the bad answers?? I'd love to know so that I can also avoid that type of customer.



I don't think there are set questions to ask. It's more of an observation of the person's attitude, like some of the comments that others have shared in this post. Also, for me, I also pay attention to whether the person seems to be listening to what I am telling or explaining to them. If they are argumentative, demanding, or don't seem to be listening to me, I'm inclined to pass up the order. It hasn't happened very often to me, but it has happened.



Like the one I had who worked in a school cafeteria so she knew "ALL about food!" and food prices .... until I told her, "No, you CAN'T go back and check pricing on this at your end because the food distributors give schools and hospitals such ridiculously low pricing that they have to gouge the rest of us to make up for it."

She also wanted me to make something like 25 servings of food (food ... not just cake) for a 3 person tasting. Bite me.

Her quote from me got lost in the Cyber Black Hole. I just decided I wasn't going to work with someone like that.

Motta Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 4:04am

OK, I understand that! I'm always sizing up people subconsciously so I "interview" brides too, I guess. I'm just not at the point where I can say I absolutely will not work with someone just because they're self-absorbed or fidgeting (not that I would tell them that). I guess when I'm popular, I might be able to do that but for now I need the money.

cakegirl1973 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 4:25am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

OK, I understand that! I'm always sizing up people subconsciously so I "interview" brides too, I guess. I'm just not at the point where I can say I absolutely will not work with someone just because they're self-absorbed or fidgeting (not that I would tell them that). I guess when I'm popular, I might be able to do that but for now I need the money.




I have my (legal) baking biz to supplement my income from my day job, so I need the money, too. However, I have turned a couple of orders down when I needed the money, because I had a sense that the bride would never be happy with what I (or any other baker for that matter) would produce. IMO, I would lose money in the end, and my time would better spent elsewhere.

indydebi Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 6:35am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

OK, I understand that! I'm always sizing up people subconsciously so I "interview" brides too, I guess. I'm just not at the point where I can say I absolutely will not work with someone just because they're self-absorbed or fidgeting (not that I would tell them that). I guess when I'm popular, I might be able to do that but for now I need the money.



Darlin' I "needed the money", too, but its a business decision. I cant' afford to invest the hundreds of dollars it takes me to buy the food supplies for a large catering, pay my staff, pay my vehicle expenses, which includes expensive comm'l insurance rates, just to have the bride come along later to try to find something to complain about so she can get it free. I would have too much invested as a potential loss (and a final catering invoice is in the thousands of dollars). I'm money ahead to let someone else deal with the problem that I KNOW is coming down the road.

Its a prudent business decision. But that's the kind of thinking that the entitlement folks have of us when they think we are BEGGING them for their business and will do ANYTHING to book SOMETHING. I saw it in my cake/catering biz; I see it in the hotel biz now.

scp1127 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 7:43am

I want to extend a sincere THANK YOU to all of you brave bakers and designers on this site. I have been a reader on this site for two years. I started out wanting to make wedding cakes part of my business. I really don't think I would have been happy dealing with some of the brides you all describe. Coming into this business later in my business life, I was not sure I had enough years left to hear all the difficult requests and know the best way to handle them (or not to politely request that they leave). I am reserving wedding cakes for family only. And "hats off" to you owners who have such a valuable skill.

MamaMia808 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 7:43am

I also had a bride contact me with a picture of the kind of cake she wants and says she got an UNREAL quote from another baker for it and pretty much is asking if I can beat it. I replied that there is no way I could do better so she'd be better off going with that other baker! icon_wink.gif I mean the price she was asking me to beat was basically me paying her for the cake!

MamaD77 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 10:34am

I have two words which I think epitomises modern youth culture, and everything wrong with it.
REALITY TV. (which is ironic, as nearly all of these shows are so far from reality it's just ridiculous!)

We unfortunately now have a generation of late teens and twenty somethings, who have been raised on a TV diet of Saturday prime time shows mostly consisting of people competing in ridiculous competitions and people are now obsessed with celebrity and being famous for nothing in particular. A lot of young people (not all) now seem to think that it is a normal way to behave when they see these people with their fake amateur dramatics, thinking that they're all that, and think that it's cool and acceptable to behave in such a way.
You've only got to look at shows like My super sweet sixteen, whatever country's next top model, bridezilla, and of course, our very own industry's shows like ultimate cake off.
I think that shows like super sweet sixteen are representing an extreme of culture when featuring these self absorbed bratty kids, but unfortunately, a lot of regular kids through watching these programmes actually aspire to that.
Television entertainment shows and general media are responsible for the huge cultural shift and we're now reaping what we've sown unfortunately.

Ultimate cake off was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I read a few posts here describing how people are asking decorators if they are "up to the challenge".
In a nutshell,I think kids are just watching far too much TV these days!

MamaD

all4cake Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 11:06am

It was definitely becoming a too common occurance for me. I decided I'd had enough of it and did something rather drastic (for me). I removed contact and pricing information from my site and posted that I am not accepting orders at this time. There was so much life (and death) going on around me when one b-t-b decided to email me the night before our SCHEDULED appt. to inquire about her appt. and say that I never confirmed her date/time (I did and showed her through the previous emails). When I showed her that it was confirmed, and that we were definitely on for the following morning, she didn't return email (I wasn't expecting one though) but, she also didn't show up to her appt. nor call or email to say she couldn't make it either. This person had been calling and emailing regularly...ocd style...to be sure she was able to get me to make her cake. Haven't heard from her since.


The phone calls and emails have never been so heavy with inquiries since I put business on hold either.

I've been working on a pricing chart for my site while on a vacation from caking...almost doubling my prices. If they want the world...they're going to have to pay for it.

costumeczar Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 11:27am

I turn down business all. The. Time. If they have the words "princess" or "diva" anywhere in their email address, that's a red flag. If they sound strange on the phone, that's another red flag. If they come to a tasting and give me the fish eye the whole time while interrogating me about my qualifications, that's another one. There are plenty of ways to tell if someone is going to give you a hard time. You have to trust your inner psycho radar, and if it goes off, you should just say no to that client.

I have a blog post going up soon about booking bakers for your wedding, because I recently had a couple of people come to tastings and give me the "We'll be making our final decision soon" speech at the end of the appointment even though I warned them that their date was almost totally booked. They kept emailing me for the next week with additional questions, but guess what? The week after their appointments someone emailed and said that they wanted to hire me without doing the tasting, and where could they send the deposit? Guess who got the date? She also said "I can't believe those people waited, they're stupid."

They also both wrote me back saying that they had decided to hire me, and I had to tell them that their date was taken because they had waited too long icon_smile.gif The attitude of "I have all the time in the world, these people are here to serve me" doesn't fly with me.

Cakenator Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 11:51am

What is with all of the harping on the 20-somethings? There are rude, ignorant, cheap, crazy people in every generation... Maybe it just seems like its just the 20-somethings because the 20-somethings are the majority of people getting married.

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